Monday , October 26 2020
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What’s left of microeconomic reform?

Summary:
I happened to mention on Twitter that I now use the word “reform” without scare quotes, even when I think the reform in question is a bad one. In fact, that’s my default assumption when I see the word, at least in the context of economic policy. That led me to think about how much fof the 1980s and 1990s microeconomic reform program still stands up. Here’s the result from Threadreader (via @ScooterBodgie) Having privatised telecomms and (most electricity), government is now building/commissioning broadband network and electricity generation and storage. Competition and choice in human services comprehensively disastrous with for-profit providers (aged care, VET) PPP model broken ever since GFC (based on UK PFI, which Conservative government tweaked, then dumped altogether)

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I happened to mention on Twitter that I now use the word “reform” without scare quotes, even when I think the reform in question is a bad one. In fact, that’s my default assumption when I see the word, at least in the context of economic policy. That led me to think about how much fof the 1980s and 1990s microeconomic reform program still stands up. Here’s the result from Threadreader (via @ScooterBodgie)

Having privatised telecomms and (most electricity), government is now building/commissioning broadband network and electricity generation and storage. Competition and choice in human services comprehensively disastrous with for-profit providers (aged care, VET)

PPP model broken ever since GFC (based on UK PFI, which Conservative government tweaked, then dumped altogether)

Outsourcing has been disastrous in many cases, most recently quarantine and contract tracing (again, UK further down this road, moving to insourcing). Outsourcing policy advice a particular problem

Financial deregulation produced GFC, hugely costly financial sector, promised benefits never delivered

Labour market reform has made workers worse off (OK, this probably counts as a success for those who introduced it).

John Quiggin
He is an Australian economist, a Professor and an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow at the University of Queensland, and a former member of the Board of the Climate Change Authority of the Australian Government.

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